Spiritual Formation

Orthodoxy, Othopathy and Orthopraxy

Two wonderful quotes to make you think.

“to balance orthodoxy (right beliefs) and orthopathy (right affections) and orthopraxy (right actions). . . these are the three movements of the healthy, growing spiritual life. This balanced path of growth–changing the mind and heart in order to change the outward actions–keeps us from the deadly trap of self-deception in which we believe, but do not grow, in Christ.” (Bruce Demarest, Satisfy your Soul (Colorado Springs: NavPres, 1999), p. 29.)

The deepest kind of transformation takes place in us when we become so deeply impressed with God and His purposes in and through our lives that our will, our volition, becomes engaged in the process of change and growth. (Richard Averbeck)

Author: Steve

Steve Kilgore joined the staff of Calvary Church in Lancaster, PA in the fall of 2002 as the Pastor of Discipleship to facilitate the equipping ministries, which include Adult Bible Fellowship and other adult discipleship ministries, and work with the rest of the education ministries. He currently serves as the Executive Pastor of Ministries with a focus on providing ministries that facility individuals taking intentional Next Steps for growing and participating in the leadership and administrative aspect at Calvary. He has also taught part-time at Lancaster Bible College in the area of Spiritual Formation and New Testament. Prior to coming to Calvary he served in two churches as well as taught part-time at Philadelphia Biblical University. He was born in Dallas, Texas, but spent the first 13 years of his life in Guatemala where his parents were missionaries. It was there at the age of four and a half that Steve placed his faith in Christ as his Savior. Steve received a Bachelor’s degree in Bible from Philadelphia College of Bible and a Masters of Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. Steve and his wife, Mary Anne, have their two boys, Andrew and Nathan (both in college), and live in East Lampeter Township. Steve lives and ministers by the personal motto, Know what you believe and why, live it, be able to defend it. His hobbies, other than playing with his family, include tinkering with computers, reading, drinking coffee with his wife, playing and watching basketball. Steve and Mary Anne are looking forward to exploring new hobbies as they transition to life as empty-nesters.

3 Comments on “Orthodoxy, Othopathy and Orthopraxy

  1. For those reading this, Steve and I are absolutely on the same page on this as we’ve taught about the “heart” together. But I feel compelled to respond to Bruce’s statement.

    I agree with the main thrust of what Bruce is saying. But I am concerned that his quote equates “right affections” (in the first sentence) “with changing the heart” (in the next sentence). This is a misunderstanding of the biblical term “heart” which creates several problems in his book. The heart includes more than emotions / affections. Actually, it includes thoughts/beliefs as well as intentions/motives (Heb. 4:12), and desires Ps. 37:4. It is a place of commitments (Mt. 22:37 / Prov. 3:5) and so involves the will. When the heart is equated with emotions, we lose so much biblical understanding.

  2. “orthopathy” –sometime called, “orthokardia,” which focuses on the “affections” or “heart.” Though “orthopathy” is the preferred term and was used by some of the great theologians of the past–like John Calvin, John Owens and Jonathan Edwards.

    Their use of “affections” (best typified in Edwards classic, Religious Affection) does not refer to just “emotions.”

    A short definition would be something like: affection is the inclination of the will, not glandular, physical, fuzzy feelings. Affection is that which moves us to do with our wills what we believe in our minds.

  3. I submitted to quickly.

    My first comment, was not to defend Demarest, but to show the true context of the terms in the quote I posted.

    Understanding the terms from their historical definition–would support what George is say, that the heart is more than just feelings.

    It relates to the central control center, the volitional aspect.

    The three terms then aim to create a balance. Right beliefs and right actions are empowered when the will is involved.

    But the “heart” (OT) or “mind” (NT) is not void of emotion.

    It is true when we boil the “heart” down to emotions, it leaves us with a fickled subjective concept. But unless the whole person is involved, including our emotions, depth of change will not happen. Emotions must be submitted to the will, but they may also strengthen our will.

    Other clarifications George?

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